35 Syracuse J. Int'l L. & Com. 123 (2007-2008)
Violence, Culture, & (and) HIV/AIDS: Can Domestic Violence Laws Reduce African Women's Risk of HIV Infection

handle is hein.journals/sjilc35 and id is 127 raw text is: VIOLENCE, CULTURE, & HIV/AIDS: CAN DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE LAWS REDUCE AFRICAN WOMEN'S
RISK OF HIV INFECTION?
Janet E. Moon*
In spite of the number of women contracting HIV/AIDS through
violent means, States have yet to fully acknowledge and act upon the
interconnection between these two mutually reinforcing pandemics.
-Yakin Ertiirk, Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
If women 's sexuality in Africa wasn't under assault, if women were
able to say no, if women weren't subject to predatory attacks by men, or
predatory behaviour generally, then you would have a disease in Africa
called AIDS. But you wouldn't have a pandemic.
-Stephen Lewis, Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa
INTRODUCTION: STORIES OF VIOLENCE, CULTURE, AND HIV IN AFRICA
In southern Africa,' violence, culture, and HIV/AIDS converge in a
tangled web around rural black women. This web abuses, infects, and
kills women. Separately, domestic violence and HIV/AIDS pose grave
threats to women. In South Africa alone, intimate partner violence kills
five women a week.2 In the same country between 1997 and 2004 the
* J.D. Candidate Syracuse University College of Law, 2008. Thank you to Alan R. Moon
for his unflagging support, to Professor Peter Bell for his discerning questions, to Professor
Paula Johnson for her knowledgeable insights, and to my journal colleagues for their help
and humor. I could not have successfully completed the writing process without them. Of
course, any errors belong to me.
1. For the purposes of this article, southern Africa, refers to Namibia, Botswana,
Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Where possible, the
article uses data specific to these countries. However, many data sources are organized
more generally and refer to sub-Saharan Africa, which includes many countries beyond the
focus of this article. When information applies sub-Saharan Africa, instead of a specific
country or southern Africa, it is so noted. Additionally, in this article the term violence is
shorthand for physical and sexual violence in domestic and intimate partner relationships.
Although this article focuses primarily on intimate partner relationships between Black
African women and men, where men are the aggressors, violence affects all types of
relationship and all people. Finally, the term culture is not all encompassing. Some
cultural practices protect and support women. And because no culture has perfect gender
parity, all cultures have some practices that oppress women. So in this article the cultural
norms and practices at issue are those that place southern African women at greater risk of
HIV infection.
2. Microfinance, Intimate-Partner Violence, and HIV, 368 THE LANCET 1937, 1937
(2006).

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